Don Kramer – FLORIDA TODAY
Q: Can technology really help me age in place safely and affordably?
A: As America ages, seniors are increasingly looking for ways to maintain their independence and stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Thanks to advancements in technology, there are all types of affordable solutions that can make “aging in place” safer and more comfortable for older adults.
Telehealth services enable seniors to consult with healthcare professionals remotely, reducing the need for in-person visits to the doctor’s office. In addition to aiding with prescription refills, telehealth can provide access to specialists who may not be available locally. As insurance providers expand coverage, telehealth visits are destined to become even more affordable.
Smart home technology for seniors now borders on the amazing. Sensors can detect a fall or a potential fire hazard, with alerts sent to family members or caregivers who can respond. Adult children can check an app to make sure their parent’s doors are locked at night, while smart appliances, lighting, thermostats and more can be programmed for daily routines and personal preferences.
Decreased mobility, eyesight and hearing has led millions of seniors to consider ride-sharing options. The online insurance comparison marketplace, QuoteWizard, predicts that by 2027, ride sharing will be more affordable than owning a car. Addressing security concerns, companies like GoGoGrandparent let you call one number to schedule an Uber or Lyft (or order from DoorDash, Instacart and more), eliminating the need to set up ride-sharing accounts or use their apps.
Social connectivity is essential for humans of every age. Today, computer tablets built specifically for seniors feature a simplified interface and large icons. Navigation is easy and seniors can complete video calls (perfect for telehealth visits!) or send texts and emails with just a few taps. Most come with a secure network that prevents spam, scams, and unwanted calls.
Seniors are increasingly receptive to the use of technology. According to “Nurse Lisa” Conway of Senior Partner Care Services in Viera, “Aging in place can be expensive. We educate our in-home care and care management clients and families about how these technologies can improve safety and enhance quality of life. They’re usually surprised to learn that many items are simple to use and can really help control costs.”
Smart home devices, remote health monitoring, medication management systems, transportation services, socialization tools — technology can genuinely empower older adults to maintain their quality of life. Affordable technologies are opening up a world of possibilities for seniors who want to age in place. And it’s probably safe to say, “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.